Keitani Graham (February 1, 1980 — December 6, 2012): We remember Keitani Graham who was taken from us so tragically and suddenly. We re-dedicate our efforts for the youth of Chuuk to carry on his legacy. He was more than a CEO, but a son, brother, uncle, and hero to many in the Chuukese community.
It’s important that we as a nation carry on the dream and legacy of the late Keitani Graham from Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia. His hope as the first FSM citizen to wrestle in the London Olympics was to lay the foundation for coaching future Olympic medalists and global ambassadors of the FSM. He inspired us with his passion for helping the young people of Chuuk and our nation through his work as youth advocate, Olympic athlete, leader of a nonprofit organization for historic preservation and self-empowerment through sports.
Keitani packed so much into his short life. He was a youth leader, sports advocate, social entrepreneur, community organizer, educator. Kei began his athletic competition as a young student at Xavier High School in Chuuk. He went on to become a member of the track team at College of the Holy Cross. An injury altered the course of his life towards wrestling. With the same zeal, enthusiasm, hard work, and positive attitude that was his trademark, Keitani learned to wrestle and competed his way through the FSM, Oceania, globally until he qualified to represent the FSM in the London Olympics in 2012.
But sports was only the means to his deeper passion; i.e. to form the young Chuukese youth to believe in their abilities and be proud of their roots. He lived that passion to the core in his life and through his nonprofit organization Society of Historic Preservation / Helping Ourselves: Outreach Programs in Sports (SHIP/HOOPS) and Akoyikoyi School that he helped to start in his village of Penia. (www.ship-hoops.org)
Chuuk continues to feel the pain of losing one of her most beloved son. We continue to mourn with the Graham family (Clark, Chineina, Keitani, Kimberly, Curtis, Dubo & Caden) and their loved ones with the loss of a beloved family member. He was our friend, our hero, our teammate, our coach, our role model, our advocate, our student, our teacher, and our champion. We hope the State of Chuuk and the FSM continue to support the work that he built by funding this organization and build better sports facilities and fund the efforts through SHIP / HOOPS in Keitani’s honor.
We love you, Kei, and miss you so much.
This tribute was written by Vidalino Raatior (www.raatior.com) and reprinted here with his permission.